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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Jasmine tea takes me back
to our honeymoon in San Francisco
when I was falling in love with everything…
The Japanese Tea Garden
surrounded by green, blooming with
wisteria, iris, and maple blossoms.
We sampled green tea, all flavors;
jasmine was my favorite.
We walked hand in hand,
called each other Mr. and Mrs.,
and felt the hope of a new path before us.

Now in this time of quarantine,
someone said tea is good for you.
Who cares if it’s a hoax. I’ve heated the water,
dropped in a filtered circle of jasmine tea,
squeezed lemon from our backyard lemon tree,

and sip the taste of San Francisco
trying hard to remember
that love is enough.

Margaret Simon, draft
Photo by Olenka Sergienko from Pexels
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Yesterday I read Sally Donnelly’s post about choosing a color to represent this time. She quoted an artist who represented the 9/11 tragedy with the color blue. Read her post here.

I started thinking about the color I would pick, and it has to be green. This is the time of year when green appears in all its amazing shades in my backyard. The cypress trees are bursting with a bright neon green.

Looking up through the cypress trees

Live oak trees lose their leaves in the spring as new leaves emerge.

Grandmother Live Oak bursting with spring growth

I am passing my stay-at-home time on my back deck, listening to wind chimes and watching for the occasional boat. And sometimes a poem comes. Using Irene Latham’s prompt from Laura Shovan’s #Waterpoemproject, I wrote this quick ditty.

Bayou Side

Buzzing
Hovering
Fat hungry bumblebee

Roaring
Speeding
Wave-jumping motor boat

Paddling
Parting
Water-whispering canoe

Sparkling
Greening
Spring-loving cypress trees

Margaret Simon, draft
“water-whispering canoe”

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Our governor of Louisiana has made a bold, smart move to Shelter-in-Place, except for essential personnel, so I am wondering about my essentials.

  1. Green smoothie to start the day with a side of Cafe Latte.
  2. Sweep oak pollen. The live oak trees are in full bloom. The pollen falls in little wisps and gets stuck on shoes, dog fur, and such, so it must be swept every day.
  3. Yoga with Susan. My lovely yoga instructor held a free Zoom class this morning. I love her class, and I feel so much better afterwards. We all sang an Om to each other today.
  4. Staying in touch with loved ones. FaceTime and videos and pictures from daughters. FaceTime with my parents who are safely settled in a retirement home. Zoom meeting with my writing group.
Text says, “Safe distancing with a 6 month old.”
  1. Humor. Pre-COVID19 quarantine, my husband and I would go dancing. One of our dear dancing friends has an extremely talented granddaughter who made this one-woman barbershop quartet video called Quarantine. Check it out then share it. This should go viral. It’s that good!

What are your essentials? Stay safe. Stay home. Stay healthy.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.
Invitation from Leigh Anne Eck.

Leigh Anne Eck is a dedicated Slicer who sent me (and all Slicers) an invitation to her Spring Fling, a virtual party for sharing ideas for self-care. At the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge, we are all teachers. We are all in this weird space of Coronavirus quarantine, fumbling around with how to continue to be who we are without face to face connection with our students. A virtual party is just what we need.

Amaryllis blooming in a circle median

My Three Self-Care Practices:

  1. Daily Walks with Spring Flowers: The weather has been perfect for a daily walk. Flowers are blooming and fragrant, wisteria, amaryllis, fruit trees, and sweet olive.
Wisteria blooming on an electric pole

2. Yoga: Did you know that Down Dog app is free to teachers until July 1? I downloaded it and did a 15 minute practice. I plan to make this a part of my daily routine. (If I can get Fancy kitty off my mat)

“What? You wanted to exercise?”

3. Facetime with my Grandbabies: Getting daily texts with pictures and video as well as FaceTime with my two grandboys is a joy that nurtures me. As every day changes our directives for sheltering, I touch base with my daughters. The boys continue to grow and do new things. Thomas, 6 months, is eating solid food. Leo at 15 months is learning a new word each day.

Facetime with Thomas

Thanks for coming to the party. You can add your post to Leigh Anne’s post here. How are you practicing self-care?

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

You’ve heard of a stray dog or stray cat, but have you ever seen a stray chicken? My daughter’s dog was chasing a chicken in their yard. They live in a city, not in the country. They’d never seen this chicken before.

A text: My son-in-law Grant caught the chicken.

Ironically, they are keeping the chicken in an outdoor barbecue house giving it water and food, veggies and a breakfast bar. My daughter asked me if I wanted to keep it. My husband said we have enough dependents at the moment, but I can’t help but think of my character Sunshine in the second Blessen book.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:

Chapter One: Missing Egg    

            In the quiet of the morning, before the sun rises, before the barges move down the bayou, even before the school bus rumbles down True Friend Road, I find a miracle waiting for me in the chicken coop.  My best friend is a chicken named Sunshine.  And she lays the most precious light blue eggs.  Every day.

            But not today.

            I gather Sunshine from her nest by placing my cupped hands under her fluffy breast.  I cackle to her in her own language. She says, “bwack!” and fluffs up her feathers.

             “Stop that cursin’, Sunny-girl. Act like a lady. Here you go, come to me.” 

            Sunshine hops up and on to my shoulders.  She paces from one shoulder to the next, tangling my hair up in her feathers.  She trills and shifts.  Tucking her under my arm, I rub her soft golden down hoping to settle her. I’ve never seen her so nervous. 

            When I check her roosting spot, it looks disturbed. Like someone or some thing was digging for her eggs.  A little shiver runs up my spine.  Come to think of it, the latch was hanging, not hooked.  I’m usually careful to fully latch it at night. 

            I think about my chicken, Blue, that I lost to a hawk last year.  Blue was my first-ever pet that I had to take total care of, and I failed.  I left the gate open.  She got out and must’ve looked too tempting for the hovering raptor.  I wonder if a hawk could’ve stolen Sunshine’s eggs.  But that doesn’t make any sense.  A hawk couldn’t get into the coop.  What coulda’ been scavenging around in Sunshine’s bed? Did I fail her, too? What kind of pet owner am I? 

            “Sunshine, did you have a visitor last night?”

            I put her down outside the coop and scatter some seed.  She settles into a focused peck, peck, peck, eating her breakfast.

            I look over toward our neighbor’s house and see the shadow of a child moving across the screened porch.  That’s weird.  I thought the house was empty. The For Sale sign still stands in the front yard. I wonder who could be there.  A new friend?  An egg thief?

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved, from Sunshine, published by Border Press, 2019.

To order Sunshine from Amazon, click here. If you’d like to order a signed copy, let me know in the comments.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.
Poetry Friday round-up is Michelle Kogan.
Click over to join the round up and to read poems from The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, including one of mine.

Ethical ELA posts a 5 day Poetry Challenge each month. (Next month, there will be a prompt every day for National Poetry Month.) This month I participated in only two days, but I shared one of the activities with my students this week on our Kidblog site.

Click here to see the full prompt from Jennifer Goyer-Jowett.

Her prompt included finding a Japanese character to write a haiku from. I chose river. (There isn’t one for bayou.)

Kawa

In the process of finding this character, I discovered the Japanese word Kawaakari which means the gleam of last light on a river’s surface at dusk.

Last light of first day
glows like any other, yet
gleam lingers longer.

Margaret Simon, draft

Knowing my student Madison would jump on this prompt (she loves all things Japanese), I posted the prompt to my class Kidblog site. I’m sharing their wonderful responses.

Ember’s graceful flight,

Sparks fly, blizzards and tornadoes

of dire fire.

Madison, 6th grade
Image result for water japanese
Mizu means water

Maddox, 5th grade, wrote “The Japanese character I chose is mizu which stands for water. It represents the fluid flowing and the formless things in the world.”

fluid flowing streams

flowing in the wild forest

complete harmony

Maddox, 5th grade
Image result for japanese word character for tree
A.J., 6th grade, chose tree.
image

Standing tall and firm,

Strong arms supporting small twigs,

Uneven Fractal.

A. J., 6th grade

Breighlynn, 4th grade wrote, “My Japanese character is Kaze. Kaze is for wind. It represents Freedom of movement.”

Freedom of Movement

Going here and going there

I love to travel

Breighlynn, 4th grade

Welcome to This Photo Wants to be a Poem, a way to wake up your poetry brain. Please write a short poem (15 words or fewer) in the comments. Try to comment on other poems as well. Spread the word through sharing the link on social media.

Shells by Kim Douillard
Kim’s blog is Thinking through my Lens

I’ve been following Kim’s blog for a few years. We’ve never met face to face, but we’ve connect through National Writing Project and #clmooc and Slice of Life with Two Writing Teachers. I love how connections can be made across the continent. Kim lives near San Diego, California. She posts beach pictures often and is quite an amazing photographer. In this post here, she photographed a great white egret in her neighborhood.

Today’s photo from this post grabbed me and said it wanted to be a poem. Kim gave me her permission to use it. You can follow her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/kd0602) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/kd0602/).

If this is your first time, don’t hesitate to join in the poem fun. There are no critics here. It’s all good.

A circle of sea
wrapped in sand and shells–
a mosaic by the master.

Margaret Simon, draft 2020